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The Art of Freelancing and the Interactive Web
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The Art of Freelancing and the Interactive Web


Whether you're interested in making a living or just want a few extra dollars on the side, freelancing is a great opportunity for any web designer. We will talk about how to get the best clients, what …

Whether you're interested in making a living or just want a few extra dollars on the side, freelancing is a great opportunity for any web designer. We will talk about how to get the best clients, what to charge for your services and what out of pocket expenses to expect. After that, we will explore ways to keep clients happy by managing expectations. Learn how to value your work and ensure that your next freelance project goes off without a hitch.

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  • Group discussion on freelance perceptions.
  • You’ve made the decision to go freelance, how do you get work?
  • Asking relatives and cold calling generally lead to poorly qualified leads.


  • 1. The Art of Freelancing and the Interactive Web
    By Chris Black
  • 2. Background
    Chris Black
    3 years part time free lancing
    2 years as a Senior Developer at the Nerdery
    1 year full time freelancer / author
    Why did I go freelance?
  • 3. Going freelance
  • 4. Why Freelance?
  • 5. Compared to Fulltime
    Freelance / Contract
    Control over projects you take
    Work on your own schedule
    Income varies each month
    Always on the clock
    Self motivated
    Little control over projects you work on
    Work 9 to 5
    Consistent salary
    Usually not on call
    Motivated by others
  • 6. Considerations
    Could I go 90 days without a paycheck?
    Do I have all the knowledge to accomplish the tasks? If not, do I know others that can help?
    Am I self motivated?
  • 7. Getting work
  • 8. Types of Work
    Full time job + freelance on the side
    When you want more experience or need extra cash
    Don’t compete with your employer!
    Full time freelance
    Contract jobs
  • 9. Types of Self Employment
    Generally shorter projects
    Can be fixed bid or time and materials
    Less commitment
    Requires more work from you – wearing many hats
    Need to find work on your own or by referral
    Work remotely, sometimes onsite
    Contract Work
    Usually 20 – 40 hours per week for a set duration
    Generally paid by the hour
    Contractual agreement of work
    Can be specific to your discipline
    Placement by recruiters or professionals
    Usually onsite
  • 10. Starting an LLC
    Valuable for full time freelancers
    Easy to setup
    Separates expenses into a business account
    Step 1: Name
    Step 2: Articles of Organization ($160)
    Step 3: EIN number
    Step 4: Open a bank account
  • 11. Finding Freelance Work
    Have a consolidated portfolio ready
    LA and NY Craigslist
    Networking events (MN.swf, Minnedemo…)
    Create a blog
    Participate in online communities
    Are you competing with other Freelancers?
  • 12. What to Charge
    Entry level work is usually $20 / hour
    Mid to junior level work $30 - $60 / hour
    Senior designer or developer $80+ / hour
    These numbers are for design / development in Minneapolis, rates vary based on location
    Keep in mind marketing, sales, software, tax prep and more are all on your dime
  • 13. Working for Free
    Overnight website challenge
    When you need to boost your portfolio
    When you feel passionate about something
    Answering quick questions
    Put a cap on the amount of free work you are willing to do
  • 14. Estimating
    Fixed bid vs. Time and Material
    Fixed bid is paying based on initial estimate
    Time and material is paying per hour
    Only choose fixed bid for very small, well defined work
    Properly managed time and material is better for both you and the client
    Break down the project into front end and backend work
    Offer alternate estimates removing features
  • 15. Estimating Example
  • 16. Filtering Work
    Is this a project I want?
    Are they paying my going rate?
    Will this be good exposure?
    Is the timeline reasonable?
    How much research will I need to do?
    Don’t take every job
  • 17. Executing work
  • 18. Client Relations
    Some small talk is good
    Eat lunch with clients and colleagues
    Keep in mind the project will end
  • 19. Project Management
    Clearly outline estimates, hours you plan to work and hours completed
    Break the project down into milestones
  • 20. Example Timeline
  • 21. Invoicing the Client
    For small projects with new clients take half up front
    Reliable, repeat clients can be billed weekly or monthly
    Contract work is usually on NET 30 terms, it could be 60 days before you see a check!
    QuickBooks Pro
  • 22. Example Invoice
  • 23. Clear Communication
    Respond to e-mails promptly
    Ask questions rather than guess
    Be honest about your ability and interest in the work
    Recognize early warning flags
  • 24. General Information
  • 25. Considerations
    Health insurance
    Dental insurance
    Disability insurance
    Do I need a loan in the next two years?
    Retirement account
    Taxes – just hire somebody
  • 26. Taxes
    Many things are deductable for self employed individuals: software, computer, business expenses, conferences
    Anyone you do more than $600 of work for must send you a W9
    Claim all of your income
    Pay estimated taxes quarterly
  • 27. Questions?
  • 28. Additional Information